Overdose Deaths Hit a Grim Milestone

Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and an increase in the supply and availability of dangerous synthetic drugs, the number of overdose deaths in America has reached a new all-time high. According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 100,000 people died of drug overdoses between May 2020 and April 2021.

That is the most drug-related deaths ever recorded in a single 12-month span and represents a 29% increase over the previous 12 months.

To put that number in perspective, that is more than guns, automobile accidents, and even the flu and pneumonia. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that drugs kill more Americans than war.

Even worse, this is not an official count, because the data for 2021 is incomplete. Some experts believe that the true number of fatal overdoses has been underreported and that the final tally will be much higher.

Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, a drug policy expert with the University of California, San Francisco, says, “2021 is going to be terrible.”

Why Is This Happening?

First, pandemic-related issues have affected the mental health of millions of people in this country. Over 40% of Americans report experiencing at least one emotional condition within the past year. These conditions are caused or worsened by:

  • Stress and fear about catching the virus
  • Isolation and loneliness
  • Financial insecurity – Unemployment, inflation, etc.
  • Grief – Losing a loved one to COVID-19
  • Survivor’s guilt
  • A shortage of mental health resources

Second, people are turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with the upheaval caused by the coronavirus. About 1 out of every 8 people report that they have increased their substance use since the pandemic began.

Third, the opioid crisis has not gone away. Tragically, 200 Americans a day die because of heroin, prescription painkillers, and, increasingly, ultra-powerful synthetics like fentanyl. In fact, fentanyl accounted for 75% of all fatal opioid overdoses and is now the deadliest drug in America.

San Diego is not safe from the havoc wrought by fentanyl. The Medical Examiner’s Office estimates that there may be 5 times as many fentanyl deaths in San Diego County in 2021 as there were in 2019.

What Can Be Done?

The best thing you can do for yourself, your family, and your future is to stop abusing drugs. But if you find that too hard to do on your own, maybe you need specialized professional help.

In Southern California, your first and best resource is Lasting Recovery, the top outpatient rehab program in San Diego. Lasting Recovery uses evidence-based treatment strategies that help you heal and allow you to safely and successfully regain your long-term sobriety.

For a confidential assessment or for more information, contact Lasting Recovery TODAY.

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